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Key Texts:    Matthew 17:1-13; Matthew 18:1-4; Mark 27-30; John 6:43-58

Key Issues:    This week, we are asked to contemplate discipleship as an experience rather than just belief in a set of ideas.  We encounter some passages of Scripture that are out of the ordinary.  One episode deals with the transfiguration of Jesus, that mysterious happening where he changed appearances dramatically so that he looked supernatural.  There is also the passage dealing with eating his body and drinking his blood.  These seem to be strange words.   And there is also the famous “deny himself” speech found in Mark 8.

1. In Matthew 17, we may read of that occasion where Jesus took Peter, James, and John up onto a mountain.  There he underwent a transfiguration so that his appearance changed dramatically.  His face shone like the sun; his clothes became pure white.  Then Moses and Elijah appeared and talked with him.  What do you think the significance of this experience was for Jesus?  What was its significance for the disciples?  (Notice that Moses died before going to heaven; Elijah was translated without seeing death.  What might the significance of this be?)

2. In John 6, there is the long passage recording Jesus words about his being the bread of life.  Then Jesus spoke of his flesh and blood, how this must be eaten by his disciples if they are to be saved.  What do you make of these passages?  What do you think Jesus was trying to teach?  how would these words affect disciples?

3. In Matthew 18, there is the lovely little episode of Jesus musing about who is greatest in his kingdom.  He answered the question by taking a child and placing him among the disciples, then saying that unless we become like little children, we will not enter the kingdom.  This was done in the face of his disciples arguing as to who would be greatest.  What do you make of this lesson?  Do you think the point Jesus was making had to do with humility, or with belief and trust?

4. What do you think it means to bear the cross of Jesus?  How would a person bear that cross now?

5. How can we experience discipleship instead of merely talking about it?

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